California Crime Rates


California runs the gamut geographically from towering redwood forests to scorched deserts, and the rolling expanse of the Pacific to snow capped peaks. These stunning variations, not to mention Hollywood, the tech industry and an enviable climate for wineries, contribute to a massive population settling all over the Golden State, from farm to city.

California’s population and size comes with some trouble, including huge metropolises battered by crime. 

SEE ALSO: Louisiana Crime Rates

Crime Trends In California

Overall, California saw a 5% reduction in violent crime in 2011,including a reduction in every major category. Murders were down nearly 1%, rape by 8% and robbery by 6.6%. While these statistics are encouraging, Oakland alone had 90 murders, and Los Angeles had 297 homicides (both were at lower levels than the previous year, however).

In Los Angeles, the decrease in crime is attributed to more police officers with better training. In other cities, such as Oakland, the crime rate is still considered to be extremely high, with property crime occurring throughout the city and violent crimes concentrated in certain neighborhoods.

In 2008, over 70% of homicides occurred in just three police districts in West and East Oakland, statistics that are consistent with recent years. This suggests crime may be influenced by poverty, gang violence, guns or drugs in impoverished neighborhoods that are struggling to rebuild after decades of abandonment by city government reconstruction efforts. 

SEE ALSO: Why Gated Communities Might Not Be As Safe As You Think

Best And Worst Of California

Two of California’s least safe cities are neighbors in the East Bay, making up a considerable population and crime chunk of the area. Oakland, population 409,000, ended 2011 with a staggering 6,267 violent crimes.Emeryville, its smaller neighbor with 10,207 residents, had a proportionally similar 128 violent crimes.

Outside the Bay Area, Stockton was runner up, with 292,000 residents and over 4,000 violent crimes. The bottom five continues with Desert Hot Springs, with around 25,000 residents and 374 violent crimes, concluding with Oroville, population 15,000, with 218 violent crimes.

The neighboring cities of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills are some of the safest places to live in California. With 28,600 and 8,700 residents, respectively, they saw a combined total of nine violent crimes (eight and one) in 2011. Tiburon follows, with 8,700 residents and four violent crimes. The top five is completed with Orinda (population 18,700) and and Imperial (population 14,700), with five violent crimes each. Unlike Oakland, with 90 murders to its name, none of these safe cities had a single murder in 2011, and the majority of the crimes were property-based.

Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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